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SOLVED Okidata network printer issues

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danb35

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This has nothing whatsoever to do with FreeNAS, but I'm having trouble figuring out where to even ask the question otherwise. Here goes...

I have an Okidata C331dn networked laser printer. It's on my home network where I print to it from a few Macbooks. My router is a pfSense box running 2.4.2. The Macs are running OS X Sierra--I haven't seen any reason to upgrade to High Sierra yet.

I've installed the printer drivers on each machine, and each machine will print just fine. However, it appears that the printer name on the network changes frequently (I haven't been able to work out how often). The "base" printer name (i.e., what it called itself when I first installed it) is "OKI-C331-665066". But the name keeps changing, adding what seems to be an incrementing number after those six digits. Currently, it's 665066998.

Since the printer is set up in the OS using its name, and the name has changed, the machine can't print. I need to delete the printer in the Mac's system preferences and re-add it (using the new name), whereupon it's fine until the name changes again (which is probably the next time I need to print).

I've assigned the printer a static IP address (DHCP reservation) and hostname (simply oki-c331) in pfSense, but that doesn't seem to have helped. I'm kind of lost on where to even begin to troubleshoot this.
 
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jgreco

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Take a big nail, a big hammer, and nail that printer hostname down! Works best if you avoid the printhead but make sure to hit the CPU. ;-)
 

danb35

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Well, it would solve the problem of the hostname changing, but still being able to use the printer would be kind of helpful too...
 

Ericloewe

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Sounds like the printer's firmware is seriously broken, but that's hardly atypical for printers.

If OS X won't play along if you try to keep track of it by IP address, I'm not sure there's anything that can be done besides getting less-broken firmware.
 

danb35

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What I've been doing in the past is going into the system preferences, printers & scanners, click the add button, and the "default" page lists the devices it sees on the network. That's where the name I mentioned above (OKI-C331-665066998 and climbing) is appearing.

In the add printer/scanner window, there's also an IP tab, which has a field for hostname or IP address. I've tried using this and entering the printer's DHCP hostname. Right now, it seems to be working, but I'll want to see if it's still OK in the morning.

The strange thing is that it hasn't been doing this for as long as I've had the printer--there was a time when it worked fine. But I can't correlate the change in behavior to any particular change I've made here. But if setting up the printer by its DHCP hostname will fix it, I'll be happy with that.
 

Ericloewe

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I feel your pain. One Windows 10 computer here stopped printing. To any printer and pseudo-printer, like print-to-PDF. All the others were fine. A few weeks later, it fixed itself.

tl;dr - I hate printers and everything associated with them.
 

jgreco

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Print everything via a CUPS server. Easily scriptable via Windows...

Code:
rundll32 printui.dll,PrintUIEntry /b "somelp" /x /n "noop" /if /f "%WINDIR%\inf\ntprint.inf" /r "https://user:pass@cups:631/printers/somelp" /m "HP Color LaserJet CP202X PS Class Driver"
rundll32 printui.dll,PrintUIEntry /n somelp /Sr /a printers\somelp.dat g d u r f p 2 7 c
rundll32 printui.dll,PrintUIEntry /n somelp /Sr /a printers\somelp.dat g d


complete with saved preferred options, or Mac,

Code:
lpadmin -p somelp	   -v ipp://user:pass@cups/printers/somelp	   -P ppd/somelp.ppd		 -E -o printer-is-shared=false


which also works for many Linux installs. A lot of stupid happens on SOHO/home networks because manufacturers try to be clever and make things work by pure magic, but sooner or later you're going to find that you want to break your networks up into subnets, and a lot of the finicky magic just stops working entirely.

Having a globally reachable print server that isn't reliant on some idiot cloud service is also kinda nice. The company laptops can print directly to the company extranet web site, printers, etc., from anywhere there's IP access...

Of course, I realize I'm the oddball who has a bunch of PC's built via script and where no one stores anything of significance on the PC, so scripting the hell out of the install means that almost any "PC problem" is just a reformat/reinstall/run-the-script to solve it.
 

Ericloewe

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Print everything via a CUPS server. Easily scriptable via Windows...
I'm pretty sure CUPS wouldn't have saved me this time, since the problem (for once) was not the printer or its driver or even the spooler, but some other part of Windows' print stack.

I hate systems that stuck, but I really hate those that randomly suck.
 

danb35

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I've tried using this and entering the printer's DHCP hostname.
As of this morning, it's still working. The number on the printer name on the "default" tab has increased by about 20, and I'm still able to print without problems. Sounds like this may have solved it.
Print everything via a CUPS server.
I've tried that in the past, but was having similar issues--but I think the CUPS server was doing the same auto-discovery, and tying itself to the printer name.

If it's stable this way, I'll want to try setting that up again, just so I can Airprint from my iDevices.
 

jgreco

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I'm pretty sure CUPS wouldn't have saved me this time, since the problem (for once) was not the printer or its driver or even the spooler, but some other part of Windows' print stack.

What other parts *are* there? Basically if you blow away your printers, their drivers, and reset the spooler, you're back to "out of the box" as far as the client printing subsystem goes, aren't you?

But yes random suckage sucks. Win10 seems to suck somewhat less except for where it sucks more. I don't understand why a "Pro" version of something defaults to tracking and advertising games and crap at you. It took several Win10 iterations, but there's enough info out there now about how to "fix" Win10 to actually make a professional-ish operating system out of the toy they ship.
 

jgreco

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I've tried that in the past, but was having similar issues--but I think the CUPS server was doing the same auto-discovery, and tying itself to the printer name.

Yeah, don't let crap auto-configure itself.
 

Ericloewe

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What other parts *are* there? Basically if you blow away your printers, their drivers, and reset the spooler, you're back to "out of the box" as far as the client printing subsystem goes, aren't you?
That's what I thought. "Oh, the spooler is acting up again, let's nuke its queue. Oh, that didn't work, let's nuke the drivers. Oh, that didn't work..." Something else failed, somehow. Then it started working again. *shrug*
 

pdenommee

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I had a similar problem on an obsolete Samsung laser printer. By default, it goes to DHCP for an IP address, but if the lease expires while a document is being printed, the printer changes IP in the middle of the document and the printing is interrupted and never terminate. I fixed the problem forever and ever by changing the printer from DHCP to a static local IP address. The only problem is that the software that can do that runs only on Windows XP, but the change has to be done only ounce.
 

jgreco

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Well, the Enterprise version is assumed to be something that you'd hook up to an AD environment and you could easily tweak GPO for your fleet, especially since it has all the knobs and toggles available to do that.

With the Pro version, you have to engage in a semi-endless battle of beating it over the head with a spanner. Between tweaking the default user profile for registry entries and the default menu layout, I've managed to get rid of most of the annoy-a-tiles, and then when setting up a new user a few more things like actually deleting the for that user. SpyBot-AntiBeacon does a nice job of much of the telemetry. Other stuff to de-crapify other aspects as well.

But I just don't get the mindset thing. It seems obvious that they are thinking maybe of home users who will go "ohhhh! that looks interesting" and then go buy apps from the Microsoft Store, like their PC is some sort of giant cell phone entertainment device. No. NO ONE at the office is going to playing Xbox or Candy Crush or whatever the other crap is. I don't need Cortana (HAL9000 her!) or Live Tiles (though I don't mind the Weather one) or Microsoft's calendaring and contacts that only work with Microsoft's handpicked services (ever hear of non-hosted CalDAV/CardDAV?). I don't want pictures in my background, or the atrocious pictures on the login screen, or tips and tricks on the login screen, or Cortana's insipid presence, I have no clue WHY the hell you'd think the Microsoft Store is so important that it has to be pinned to the taskbar, and this is too bad because underneath it all somewhere is actually a usable operating system. If this were an office park, it would be like like someone let Microsoft's Marketing department loose with streamers, spray paint, and toilet paper to "decorate" the Microsoft building. Do they really think that makes a good impression?
 
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